Responding to the publication of further details on plans for the new UK points-based immigration system, Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:
“As a country we face significant skills challenges, with one of the most serious being in our social care system. We need to do what we can to ensure the social care workforce can be maintained.
“COVID-19 has resulted in a unprecedented shock to the economy and we must ensure that local and national economies have the workforces they need. A key issue for councils will be business continuity and the ability to plan for the sustainability of essential public services and that local private and public sector employers have a steady supply of the skills they need to survive.
“Salary thresholds should be variable across sector and region, to reflect the needs of different employers, alongside a reformed and devolved skills and employment system to tackle the existing national skills shortages.
“During the pandemic, our social care workers have demonstrated more than ever how important and valued they are in caring for our loved ones. With 122,000 care worker vacancies, the Government needs to ensure that social care workers are included in the new health and care visa to help fill these vital roles. Social care should be given parity of esteem with the NHS and other health professionals.
“This should be alongside the need for a long-term, sustainable funding settlement for social care and we look forward to when cross-party talks on the future of social care can begin.”